RE/MAX 440
Roxanne Christy
4092 Skippack Pike, P.O. Box 880
Skippack  PA 19474
 Phone: 610-584-1160
Office Phone: 610-584-1160
Cell: 267-252-0567
Fax: 267-354-6977 
rchristy@remax440.com
Roxanne Christy

My Blog

What to Do If Your Home Has Radon

August 9, 2016 12:28 am


Do you know radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most homes with high levels of radon gas can be remedied. If you have tested your home for radon and have confirmed elevated radon levels (4 picocuries per liter in air [pCi/L] or higher), consult your local health agency or radon authority for help to:

Select a qualified radon mitigation contractor. The EPA recommends working with a state-certified and/or qualified radon mitigation contractor trained to remedy radon issues.

Determine an appropriate radon reduction method.

Maintain your radon reduction system. Some radon reduction systems mitigate radon levels by up to 99 percent.

The cost to reduce radon generally ranges from $800 to $2,500, according to the EPA. Most types of radon reduction systems cause some loss of heated or air conditioned air, which could also increase utility bills. How much of an increase will depend on the climate you live in, what kind of reduction system you select, and how your house is built.

For most cases, the EPA recommends methods that prevent the entry of radon. Soil suction, for example, prevents radon from entering your home by drawing radon from below the house and venting it through a pipe above the house, where it is diluted. In houses that have a basement or a slab-on-grade foundation, radon can be reduced by one of four types of soil suction: subslab suction, drain tile suction, sump hole suction, or block wall suction. In houses that have a crawlspace, radon can be redocued through sub-membrane suction, a process in which radon is drawn from underneath a high-density plastic sheet covering the ground below the house.

Other radon reduction techniques, according to the EPA, include sealing, pressurization, heat recovery ventilation, and natural ventilation.

For assistance with radon reduction, call 1-800-SOS-RADON, or visit EPA.gov/radon/.
 

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Hardwood vs. Laminate: What's Best for Your Floor?

August 8, 2016 12:19 am


Wood or wood-like flooring can give your home a brand new look—warm, updated, and inviting. There are several factors to consider before making the choice.

Natural hardwood flooring is more visually appealing, but is twice as expensive and far less durable than laminate lookalikes. On the other hand, laminates, like Pergo, which cost half as much as hardwood, will not increase your home’s resale value.

The experts at GeeksonHome.com tick off items to consider:

Cost – Laminate flooring, which is made of pressed wood, costs $2 to $3 per square foot, while natural hardwood flooring costs between $3 and $6 per square foot.

Durability – Hardwood flooring is sensitive to dents and scratches—a point to consider if you have young children or pets, or if your home sees high traffic. It can, however, be refinished several times over its lifetime, though that will incur additional expense.

Laminate, conversely, is impervious to stains and dents, but, because the wood veneer is very thin, it cannot be refinished.

Overall, the lifespan of laminate flooring is said to be 15 to 20 years, while hardwood flooring can last well over 50 years if refinished as needed.

Installation – Installing laminate flooring is faster and easier than installing hardwood flooring, because laminate comes in sheets rather than individual boards, and is usually glued down, rather than nailed into place.

Moisture – Hardwood flooring is susceptible to moisture and high humidity. It should not be laid directly on a concrete floor or in basements, where moisture can cause the wood to contract, expand and warp.

Laminate, to compare, is stable. Moisture will not affect or damage laminate flooring, so it can be laid on concrete.

Bottom line: laminate flooring is less expensive, more durable and easier to maintain—and today’s laminate products do a better job of looking like natural wood than ever before. The quality of hardwood, however, is easy to recognize, will last a lifetime, and, if properly maintained, can add significant value to your home. 
 

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Homeowner Safety: Tips to Prevent Grilling Fires

August 8, 2016 12:19 am


Close to 10,000 home fires involving barbecues, grills or hibachis happen every year, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)—and most start on a balcony or porch outside the home.

Lack of maintenance is one of the primary causes of fires, says Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for the NFPA. Grillers should remove grease and other build-up from the grill grates and trays often.

“It’s good practice to check for damage before using the grill for the first time each year, and to check the entire grill regularly,” Carli said in a statement.

Carli and the NFPA also recommend only grilling on propone or charcoal barbecues outdoors, away from the home and any other structures or materials that may catch fire, including tree branches. Children and pets should be kept at least three feet away from the grill at all times, and preferably out of the pathway to the home or hose.

Never leave the grill unattended, the NFPA advises. Often, fires begin when no one is looking.

For more fire safety tips, visit www.nfpa.org.

Source: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
 

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Breaking Down Apartment Costs Across America

August 8, 2016 12:19 am


Apartment costs can vary drastically between cities, or even neighborhoods. How far your budget takes you depends on one factor: location, location, location.

The experts at GOBankingRates.com recently released a study identifying the average cost of one-bedroom apartments across 50 cities. The national average median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,234, the study determined; the national average size of a one-bedroom apartment is 678 square feet.

The cities with the highest median rent, according to the study, are San Francisco, Calif. ($3,600), San Jose, Calif. ($2,536) and New York, N.Y. ($2,200). The cities with the lowest median rent are Wichita, Kan. ($470), Cleveland, Ohio ($525) and Detroit, Mich. ($550).

The study also ranked the availability of apartment amenities in each city analyzed. Those takeaways:

Cleveland, Ohio is the best city for parking, with 69 percent of one-bedroom apartments offering parking to tenants. Omaha, Neb. and Anaheim, Calif. rank second and third, respectively. New York, N.Y. is the worst city for parking, with just 5 percent of one-bedroom apartments offering parking to tenants. Boston, Mass. and Chicago, Ill. rank second and third, respectively.

Phoenix, Ariz. is the city with the most one-bedroom apartments that offer pools, at 95 percent. Las Vegas, Nev. and San Antonio, Texas rank second and third, respectively. Anchorage, Alaska is the city with the least one-bedroom apartments that offer pools, at 0 percent. San Francisco, Calif. and New York, N.Y. rank second and third, respectively.

Louisville, Ky. is the city with the biggest one-bedroom apartments, at 807 square feet. Jacksonville, Fla. and Atlanta, Ga. rank second and third, respectively. Portland, Ore. is the city with the smallest one-bedroom apartments, at 461 square feet. Milwaukee, Wis. and Honolulu, Hawaii rank second and third, respectively.

“Our research found that in high-priced rental markets, not only do you have to shell out significantly more for an apartment, but also, you get less bang for your buck than in lower-priced areas,” said Cameron Huddleston, Life + Money columnist for GOBankingRates.com, in a statement. “You’re less likely to get amenities such as covered parking, a fitness center or even a dishwasher with an apartment in expensive areas such as Boston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. However, there are several cities—such as Indianapolis, Louisville and Virginia Beach, Va.—where you can find apartments with ample space and affordable prices.”

Source: GOBankingRates.com
 

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More Urban Homeowners Are Buzzing over Beekeeping

August 5, 2016 12:16 am


Do you know that of the 100 crop species providing 90 percent of the world's food, over 70 are pollinated by bees?

Without a ready force of beekeepers to protect and sustain hives, the world's environmental balance threatens to teeter. The good news is, communities are permitting more property owners—particularly in dense urban settings—to establish and keep bee hives.

John Caldeira, an expert in urban beekeeping from Dallas, Texas, recently blogged (OutdoorPlace.org) about the growing corps of urban and suburban beekeepers establishing hives in backyards and on rooftops. According to Caldeira, urban beekeepers have the added challenge of ensuring their bees do not become a nuisance to neighbors.

Caldeira says relatively few communities in the U.S. outlaw beekeeping, but most do have nuisance laws that are intended to outlaw activities most people would find objectionable. Other communities have laws that put practical constraints on beekeeping, such as a limit on the numbers of hives on one property. Prospective beekeepers should always learn local legal restrictions before keeping bees, Caldeira says. 

Third-generation beekeeper Zan Asha published a feature in Grit urging aspiring beekeepers to research their new hobby—in the article, Asha says it's not uncommon for keepers to obtain bees without any idea how to care for them. Asha advises aspiring beekeepers to consult the massive selection of books, attend beekeeping classes or search YouTube for videos to learn about bee behavior, honey harvesting, and more.
 

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9 Smart Tips to Keep Your Home Spotless

August 5, 2016 12:16 am


Nobody likes to spend hours cleaning house—and sometimes, there are few hours to spare. How is it some seem to have a knack for keeping their homes looking spotless in no time at all?

Country Living magazine recently polled home bloggers to come up with nine tricks:

Take Your Shoes Off – Shoes carry dirt and germs. Mandate the family remove them when coming in the door—and put up a sign in the entryway asking visitors to do the same.

Make the Bed – Even if the bedrooms are not picture-perfect, a neat bed pulls together the room.

Squeegee the Shower Every Time – Squeegeeing only takes about 20 seconds, and it keeps the glass clean and shining.

Clean the Bathroom Sink – Quickly swipe the sink with a wipe to keep it sparkling. Keep the wipes handy under the sink.

Wipe Down Kitchen Counters – Use a homemade solution of one part vinegar with three parts water to keep counters clean.

Clean Up as You Go – Wash the pots and put away ingredients as you finish while you cook—the goal is to have nothing to do after dinner but put plates in the dishwasher.

Do a Five-Minute Cleanup Before Bed – Five minutes before bedtime, put everything back in its place—pick up the dog's toys, hang up jackets and put away the mail, for instance.

Put Your Clothes Away – Every master bedroom has one chair that starts off empty on Monday and ends up covered with clothes by Friday. Before you go to bed, put them away.

Open a Door or Window – Letting in fresh air helps keep your home feeling fresh.
 

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Do You Live in One of America's Most 'Handi-Able' Communities?

August 5, 2016 12:16 am


People with disabilities have distinct considerations to make when searching for housing in a new city, including accessibility of facilities and quality of healthcare.

WalletHub.com recently analyzed 150 of the most populated cities in the country to determine the most "handi-able" locations, or those best suited for people with disabilities. Key indicators were measured in the analysis, such as number of physicians per capita and rate of employed people with disabilities.

According to the analysis, the 10 best cities for people with disabilities are:

1. Overland Park, Kan.
2. Scottsdale, Ariz.
3. Peoria, Ariz.
4. Tampa, Fla.
5. St. Petersburg, Fla.
6. Huntington Beach, Calif.
7. Oklahoma City, Okla.
8. Gilbert, Ariz.
9. Honolulu, Hawaii
10. Santa Clarita, Calif.

Stats emerging from the analysis include:

​• The percentage of the population with disabilities living below poverty level in Cleveland is five times as high as in Overland Park, Kan.

• The employment rate of people with disabilities in Amarillo, Texas is twice as high as in Pembroke Pines, Fla.

• The cost of a doctor visit in Milwaukee is three times as high as in Jacksonville, Fla.

• The annual cost of in-home services in San Francisco is twice as high as in Brownsville, Texas.

• The percentage of persons with disabilities living in Cleveland is four times as high as in Irvine, Calif.

• The percentage of the population with walkable park access in San Francisco is four times as high as in Charlotte, N.C.

For more statistics from this analysis and others, visit WalletHub.com.
 

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Study: Credit Card Spend Rises Before Mortgage Closing

August 4, 2016 2:16 am


Altering credit habits in the time leading up to the closing of a mortgage can affect the outcome of the loan. Despite this, many mortgage borrowers—movers and refinancers—charge more to their credit cards before a loan closes, found a study by TransUnion, one of the three credit reporting bureaus.

“A long-held assumption among lenders is that new mortgage applicants spend less on their credit cards prior to their mortgage closing event—either to ensure their credit picture does not change or simply because they anticipate spending more once they move into their new home,” said Charlie Wise, co-author of the study and vice president of TransUnion’s Innovative Solutions Group, in a statement. “Our research indicates that millions of consumers actually increase their card spending in the months before the new mortgage origination. Whether it’s to purchase furnishings or make updates to their existing property, many consumers who move increase their spending before moving into their new residence.”

Results of the study show borrowers charge two to three times more to their credit cards in the months prior to the mortgage closing.

“Card spending increases are even greater for mortgage borrowers who refinance,” Wise continued. “These consumers may be anticipating lower mortgage payments, and take advantage of the greater available cash flow by increasing card spending in the months before their refinancing.”

The study analyzed the behaviors of more than 16 million prime or better-risk borrowers over two years.

Source: TransUnion
 

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Summer Boredom Setting In? 5 Ideas for Stay-at-Home Kids

August 4, 2016 2:16 am


Nothing strikes dread into a mother’s heart like kids home for the summer wailing, “We have nothing to do!”

Busy moms can keep little ones occupied with some shrewd pre-planning. WorkAtHomeMoms.com, an online resource for mothers on a schedule, suggests stockpiling a grab bag full of books, coloring books, puzzles and other inexpensive toys to draw from when boredom sets in.

The website also offers five ideas for keeping stay-at-home kids in the 6-12 age range involved:

Create a Comic – Provide materials for a comic book: paper, markers, colored pencils and a stapler. Ask each child to dream up an original comic book character—a bratty kid, a superhero, or a favorite animal—and star him or her in a homemade comic book.

Have Some Retro Fun – Teach your children a few of the old-fashioned games you played when you were a kid: jacks, hopscotch, marbles, jump rope or lawn croquet. You can even plan an Olympics-type competition, moving from one to the next.

Let ‘Em Make Lunch – Divide lunchtime chores according to age. Children can make simple sandwiches and no-bake cookies and pack them into a picnic basket, along with plates, napkins and plastic forks. At lunchtime, the whole family can picnic in the backyard or at a local park.

Plan a Game Day Marathon – Start with age-appropriate puzzles, followed by a series of card games like Crazy Eights, Go Fish, and Old Maid. Finish with a favorite board game or two. Keep track of the time, and the child or team who finishes first gets to choose what’s for dinner.

Put on a Show – Discuss ideas in advance—perhaps a fairy tale—then let the children do it all: write the script, put together the costumes and stage set, and rehearse and act out the parts. Parents become the audience (friends and neighbors optional!), with dessert for all after the show.

For more ideas for summer and beyond, visit WorkAtHomeMoms.com.
 

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Swim Season: 5 Tips to 'Pool Safely'

August 4, 2016 2:16 am


Pools, though a pastime at home, present a danger to children with limited swimming abilities.

Though the number of fatal child pool drownings has dropped significantly in the years since the inception of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Pool Safely campaign (PoolSafely.gov), parents and caregivers must continue to remain vigilant when children are in or near a pool at home.

To do so, the CPSC recommends:

• Learning how to swim, and teaching your child how to swim;

• Learning CPR, for both children and adults;

• Installing a four-sided fence around the pool, with a self-closing, self-latching gate;

• Installing federally-compliant drain covers; and

• Assigning supervisory duties to a “Water Watcher,” or a person who will remain alert and on guard while children are swimming.

For more pool safety tips, visit PoolSafely.gov.

Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
 

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